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Louisville community marks 30th birthday of Breonna Taylor

More than three years after Breonna's death, the community came together to remember her while marking a special milestone.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In Shawnee Park, you will see her name everywhere and hear it too.

Dozens gathered, from morning till dusk – family, friends and those who came to know Breonna Taylor in her death – celebrating on a hot June day, the passing of yet another birthday, without her.

"This is a celebration. This is a memorial. This is everything to give you the strength," Pastor Nikki Cooper, said.

For some, like Breeway activist Bruce Sweeney, it was an opportunity to reflect on the last three years without Taylor – the triumphs and tribulations.

"We still haven't gotten justice for Breonna Taylor. We're still waiting for justice," Sweeney said.

On March 13, 2020, a Louisville Metro Police officer shot and killed 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, while executing a botched search warrant at her apartment, in the middle of the night.

Taylor would have turned 30 Saturday. It was a moment to celebrate but also a milestone to mourn.

Ray Barker, a former Louisville police officer, added, “The way you balance the heartbreak of the incident is that we get together – the fellowship. We’re all feeling the sorrow and the loss of her [Breonna] not being here but also we’re finding great comfort in seeing each other again and talking to each other.”

“When you’re dealing with a death as tragic as hers, it’s very indescribable,” West Louisville activist, Will Pitts, said.

"Man, it ain't about me, it ain't about Breeway Warriors, it's about Breonna Taylor today," Sweeney said.

While gone, her name lives on. It's a name known across the world now. 

In the wake of her killing, Breonna Taylor's name sparked national outrage and civil unrest, which served as a flashpoint in Louisville.

Those gathered Saturday reflected on that progress. 

A recent stride that came to mind – the Department of Justice's announcement, in March, revealing its findings after a two-year long investigation: Louisville Metro Police and Louisville Metro Government engaged in a pattern of unlawful and discriminatory conduct, depriving people of their constitutional rights.

Pitts said the killing of Breonna Taylor served as a catalyst, bringing Louisville to that moment of change.

"The impact Breonna Taylor has had on the city of Louisville, it's unimaginable," Pitts said.

Barker said her immeasurable impact serves as a daily reminder for the people of Louisville to keep fighting for peace. 

"The message is this is one community and both young and old need to work together to make sure this is a peaceful community," Barker said.

Together, the community will forever honor her name and lasting legacy. It’s one that only grows as gatherings like this continue.

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